Why did Apple give in on controversial in-app subscription policy, anyway?

“By now, we all know Apple has famously revised its infamous in-app subscription model,” A.T. Faust III writes for AppAdvice. “The new policy… removes the clause that called for identical content to be made available via in-app purchases ‘for the same price or less’ than any externally-sourced data. Instead, such apps are simply disallowed to link to that paid information.”

Faust writes, “Frankly, I didn’t see the move coming, though I doubt Cupertino was strong-armed by the likes of Financial Times and the newspaper’s HTML 5 app alternative. More likely, says MG Siegler over at TechCrunch, Apple simply ‘had an idea, one that would potentially be hugely profitable for them, and they decided to test the waters on it. They put it out there to see if it would swim. It sank. So they reeled it back in and changed things. All of this happened, mind you, before anything was ever actually changed. I’m sure it’s a total coincidence that Apple just altered these guidelines right before the changes were due to take effect later this month.'”

“While I agree with Siegler’s thoughts on the matter, I doubt it was mere “coincidence” that saw Apple change its approach so close to the implementation’s deadline,” Faust writes. “Rather, I expect it was a combination of factors — including public perception and the tedium of constantly working with content publishers on ‘special terms’ — that led to Apple’s reconsideration and eventual redirection.”

Much more in the full article here.

20 Comments

      1. Yes – before I looked at the comments – I was sure someone was going to say – it was their plan all along. Man – Apple is so god-like, they almost need to put a “One” after their name – Apple One.

  1. A viable subscription model for IOS devices continues to be a work-in-process.

    My biggest complaint about mag or newspaper subscriptions is the current pricing model established by publishers. A “printed” mentality still permeates their thinking. Still haven’t realized that 5 million subscribers at a low price point (say .$99 for magazines) generates more $$$ and interest than 1 million subscribers at $2.99. Ultimately market forces will bluntly provide this realization to these publishing dinosaurs.

    1. I don’t think it was that as much as it was that the legalize in the agreement was unfair to those who offer subscription services such as Netflix, et. al.

      The wording of the clause made it difficult for company’s like Netflix and magazine publishers to comply by having to manage two different processes/systems to accommodate their’s and Apple consumers.

  2. Doesn’t anybody remember back when Steve introduced the iPhone that he said that people should write WEB APPS? Everybody screamed that they wanted to have the ability to write programs for it.

    The iPhone was created to run web apps.

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